Fall Conference 2012
"Does the President Matter?
A Conference on the American Age of Political Disrepair
The Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and the Humanities at Bard College
Fifth annual international conference
Friday, September 21 to Saturday, September 22
Bard College, Olin Hall
Friday, September 2110:00 AM Introduction: Does the President Matter?
Roger Berkowitz, Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College.
10:30 AM Can a President Change the Culture and Direction of the Nation?
Leon Botstein, President of Bard College.
11:00 AM Is Occupy Wall Street a symptom of an irreparable loss of faith in liberal democracy?
Todd Gitlin, Professor and Chair of the Ph.D. Program at the Columbia School of Journalism; author of many books, most recently, Occupy Nation: The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street.
Anne Norton, Professor of Political Theory, University of Pennsylvania. Author of many books including 95 Theses on Politics, Culture, and Method.
Chair: Elizabeth Frank12:30 PM Lunch
Discussant: Thomas Wild
2:00 PM Is the Pirate Party the Answer to our Crisis of Leadership?
Rick Falkvinge, Founder of the Swedish Pirate Party.
Chair: Ian Buruma
3:00 PM Should the President Lead or Govern?
Eric Liu, CEO of the Guiding Lights Foundation and co-founder of the True Patriots Network; formerly President Clinton's Domestic Policy Advisor and author of The Gardens of Democracy.
Kevin Gutzman, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of History, Western Connecticut State University, Author of James Madison and the Making of America.
Discussant: Grace Hunt
4:30 PM Break
5:00 PM Serving Francois Mitterrand and Nicolas Sarkozy: Does the President Matter in the Pursuit of Human Rights?
Bernard Kouchner, Founder of Doctors Without Borders and Former Foreign Minister of France
Chair: Marina van Zuylen
Discussant: Thomas Keenan
6:00 PM Is the President Too Weak?
Jeffrey Tulis, Associate Professor of Government, University of Texas at Austin and author of The Rhetorical Presidency and The Constitutional Presidency.
Chair: Mark Lytle
Discussant: Ian Storey
Saturday, September 22
10:00 AM Introduction
Wyatt Mason, Senior Fellow, Hannah Arendt Center and Contributing Writer for Harpers' Magazine and the New York Times Magazine.
10:30 AM Does Our Political and Constitutional System Make it Impossible for a President to Lead?
Bernadette Meyler, Professor of Law, Cornell University Law School
Walter Russell Mead, James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College and Editor-at-Large at the American Interest.
Chair: Mark W. Smith
Discussant: Daniel Karpowitz
12:00 PM Is Presidential Leadership Still Possible or Desirable?
Ralph Nader, Presidential candidate, political activist.
Chair: Jonathan Becker
Discussant: Ric Fouad
1:30 PM Lunch
2:15 PM Unveiling of the 2012 Hannah Arendt Portrait
Artist: David Schorr
Introduced by Steven Maslow
2:30 PM Does the President Matter: Winners of the Student Essay Contest.
Chairs: John LeJeune, Hannah Arendt Center Junior Fellows.
3:15 PM Is the Era of Great Presidents In the Past?
Tracy Strong, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, UC San Diego, author most recently of Politics Without Vision.
Richard Aldous, Eugene Meyer Professor of British History and Literature, author most recently of Reagan and Thatcher.
David Greenberg, Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University.
Chair: Laurie Naranch
Discussant: Margaret Crosby
5:00 PM Is the President Captain or Captive?
John Zogby, founder of the Zogby Poll and author of The Way We'll Be
James Zogby, author of Arab Voices and Founder and President of the Arab American Institute.
Chair: Jonathan Kay
Discussant: Robyn Marasco